‘Port charges not approved by Parliament to be withdrawn’
The Senior Minister, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, has said all fees and charges at the ports which do not have the approval of Parliament will be withdrawn to create an enabling environment for investors and businesses.
The measure, he explained, was part of the effort by the government to significantly improve ease of doing business in Ghana.
Mr Osafo-Maafo was speaking at a durbar of the chiefs and people of the Tema Traditional Area at Tema Manhean, to climax this year's Kplejoo Festival last Saturday.
The Kplejoo Festival preceeds the annual Homowo Festival, and during the celebration, traditional priests and priestesses cleanse the various stools, offer sacrifices to the gods of the land and pray to them for bountiful food and fish.
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The Senior Minister said while the government was committed to creating an enabling environment for all investors, it had noted that a number of agencies at the country’s ports had arbitrarily imposed fees and charges without the approval of Parliament.
He explained that it was only Parliament that could impose taxes, fees and charges and as such the government was going to take steps to ensure that all such unapproved charges were withdrawn until they had received parliamentary approval.
Mr Osafo-Maafo commended the chiefs and the people of Tema for the sacrifices they made some 60 years ago by accepting to relocate to their present settlement to pave the way for the construction of the Tema Port and other industries.
Responding to an appeal by the Tema Traditional Council on the unavailability of jobs for the youth, he proposed that a committee made up of representatives from the TMA, the Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council and his office be set up to determine how industries in Tema could put in place a quota system to ensure that the people who sacrificed their land to create the biggest industrial city in Africa were provided jobs.
The Senior Minister reiterated the government's commitment to fulfill its electoral pledge of punishing persons found to have misused state resources.
He said various investigations were on course and that anyone found culpable would be dealt with according to the laws of the land.
"The New Patriotic Party (NPP) came into power on the back of dealing with corruption. However, we must hasten slowly.
It is not in the interest of anybody to rush to prosecute people when you have not assembled all the facts.
The government is working by the rules and the laws of the land. Investigations are ongoing and I can assure you that anybody who has misappropriated a pesewa will be put before the courts," he said.
The Greater Accra Regional Minister, Mr Ishmael Ashitey; the Tema Metropolitan Chief Executive, Mr Felix Mensah Nii Anang-La and the MP for Tema East, Mr Daniel Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover, in their separate speeches, spoke about projects initiated by the government to ensure the development of Tema.
The projects include the construction of the Bankuman roads at Tema Manhean, the provision of street lights and the construction of school blocks.
Mr Titus-Glover said the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) had expressed interest in the reconstruction and modernisation of the Tema Manhean Polyclinic to enhance access to quality health care.
The Tema Mantse, Nii Adjei Krakue II, expressed his appreciation to the Senior Minister for his pledge to support the traditional council in its effort to secure jobs for the youth of the area.